Specialists are still trying to find out the leading causes of the mysterious neurological illness which affected eight children from Washington state. Until now, doctors have established that the symptoms are similar to the polio disease.
Based on doctors’ reports, the eight kids with ages between three and 14 years old lost movement or strength in one leg or arm depending on how violent the symptoms were. Fortunately, this illness is not contagious compared with polio, but even so, they still have to find out why it develops in children.
According to pediatric neurologist Dr. Jim Owens from Seattle Children’s Hospital, the symptoms are so violent not because of the infection itself but due to an overreaction of the body to it.
Although five of these children have left the hospital, three of them are still hospitalized with the first incident recorded in September, whereas another adult case has been reported a few months ago. This syndrome is called acute flaccid myelitis, and it is an illness which attacks the patient’s nervous system, especially the spinal cord.
This explains why it causes loss of mobility in arms and legs. It is worth mentioning that even if it appears that children are more likely to develop the disease, adults are vulnerable as well. Specialists underline that it is not known yet whether the children have this syndrome, but the investigation leaves no doubt.
Experts believe that the leading cause is hard to spot because many germs and viruses are related to this illness. More precisely, these bacteria were also found in common colds.
An infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr. Scott Lindquist, claims that there might be multiple sources that usually cause this illness. Based on the CDC statistics, 50 AFM cases have been recorded this year across 24 states.
The eight children live in Whatcom County, Franklin County, Pierce Couty, and King County. Although Owens said that ‘We’re not talking about just a little bit of weakness; we’re talking about not moving their arm at all,’ patients usually recover without long-term consequences.
This illness has been tracked since 2014, while 21 cases have been reported until now, according to CDC officials. Specialists are concerned about the increasing number of cases that cannot be prevented until an exact cause is not found.
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